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Past Events


08.30.12 - Naked Thursdays - Free - 7 pm

Every Other Thursday
Thursday, August 30th
7 pm

A series of stripped down shows hosted every other Thursday by guitarist Tom Lattanand featuring local virtuosos making great music.

This week: 

If such a joyous sonic welter as the music of Oakland’s Artemis needs a handle, then call it “pavement psychedelia,” or “urban robot raga” or “trip-pop.” On a song like “Hypno,” spectral keyboard washes and sinuous dance beats set up a feeling of warm alienation before the singer’s voice heats things further. Over the thump and shimmer, she croons with detached fervor, the production dissolving in a storm of pixie-dust disco until a rude riot of effects snaps the tether and she vanishes.

Aesthetically, the band is a poppier variant on trip-hop, with layers of beats and synth effects providing atmospherics for sophisticated classic rock song structures and the velvet swoop of Artemis’s vocals.


08.29.12 - Live Jazz - Wrapped in Plastic - free - 7 pm

Wednesday, August 29th
7 pm

The first in our Wednesday Jazz Series, Awaken Cafe welcomes  Wrapped in Plastic.  

Wrapped in Plastic, from San Francisco, provides the freshest sounds of old and new jazz to the Bay Area.  In addition to an ever-expanding repertoire of jazz originals, the group reinterprets old favorites and lesser-known gems in new and modern ways - passing from Miles Davis to the music of David Lynch’s films.  




08.28.12 - Water Tower Bucket Boys (Portland, OR) - free - 7 pm

Tuesday, August 28th
7 pm

Back for a free encore performance, we’re very luck to have this band back. Punk rockers playing bluegrass. Get on down here tonight to see the Water Tower Bucket Boys!

After 5 years on the road, 4 albums under their belt and multiple international tours, Water Tower has been brewing up a storm in the folk music world.  The boys have collaborated live with members of bands like Frank Turner, Kitty Daisy and Lewis, the Red Stick Ramblers, and the Foghorn Stringband and shared the stage with acts like Old Crow Medicine Show, Mumford and Sons, Wilco, Pokey LaFarge and the South City Three, and Woody Pines.  They have toured extensively in both the USA and abroad, and performed live on the BBC, NPR, and RTE.  Their all original sound is infectious and has spread far and wide to audiences of all ages and walks of life.  Based in Portland, Oregon these young gents got their start busking on street corners playing traditional old time and bluegrass, eventually honing their sound as a solid dance band playing square dances and bluegrass festivals up and down the west coast.

However, the boys wanted to take the music further and thus, their new sound was born.  Loosely based in the traditions of  bluegrass, punk rock, blues, cajun, folk and country their music slides between musical boundaries. Their songs feature tight 3 part harmonies and powerful instrumentals.  This combined with the lightning energy of their stage performances has made them a favorite amongst audiences everywhere. Their latest recording is a 5-song EP recorded in Portland at Type Foundry Studios called “Where the Crow Don’t Fly” and showcases the band’s original songwriting, diverse arranging, and solid playing.  


08.23.12 - Trivia Night Thursday - 7 pm

Thursday, August 23rd
7 pm

Compete in teams of fives through four rounds of questions for a bucket of beer!  Hosted by Awaken Cafe’s Oliver Greenlaw.




08.18.12 - Bitchez Broo Review - donations requested - 7 pm

Saturday, August 18
7:00 pm
Donations Requested

The nation’s finest literary showcase in inter-tribal music and spoken word, the August 2012 edition will feature the music of Dawn Oberg, and the poetry, laughter and heartbreak of the rhetoricians Chansonette Buck, Ariel Fintushel,  Kiala Givehand; Garrett Murphy, James Siegel, Nora Toomey and McKay Williams. 

Chasnonette Buck grew up the stepchild of a Black Mountain Poet.  A Cal PhD in English.  Her new memoir is “Unnecessary Turns: Growing Up Beat.”

Ariel Fintushel is a regular contributor to the BANG OUT reading series and has work appearing in Anemone Sidecar and City Writes.

Kiala Givehand is the founding editor of Generations Literary Journal and worked as the poetry editor of 580 Split for two years.

Garrett Murphy is the author of “9-11 (and Mr. Punch)” and “None Dare Call it Making Sense in An American Lesson” and gets our vote as poet laureate of Oakland.

James Siegel is the director of the GuyWriters collective. He is the author of the chapbook, “Ghost of Ohio.”

Nora Toomey has big dreams for poetry. She is most interested in creating multi-textual, audio, visual, tactile spheres where her poems can live.

Mckay Williams is the author of When Seven Ate Nine. His short stories have been published both home and abroad. He lives and writes in Oakland. 


08.17.12 - Mike the Poet (LA) - Free - 8 pm

Friday, August 17
8:00 pm

Mike Sonksen, also known as, Mike the Poet, is a 3rd-generation LA native acclaimed for poetry performances, published articles & legendary city tours. Poet, journalist, historian, tour guide, teacher. He graduated from U.C.L.A. 

Mike’s work is a bridge between the underground & academic, aimed at hip hop heads, academic grad students & the general public.

Mike’s book I AM ALIVE IN LOS ANGeLES! has been added to the curriculum of several universities. Mike’s performed his poetry coast to coast at college campuses, museums, bookstores, nightclubs & just about any venue you can imagine.

His Los Angeles city tours combine poetry and history and have been written up in the New York Times, THE UK Guardian, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Straight No Chaser. 


08.16.12 - Unfiltered Stories: Awakenings - $8/10 - Doors at 7pm

Thursday, August 16 (Naked Thursdays will be back August 30th)
Doors at 7:00 pm
Advance:  $8 (buy tickets
Door:  $10 (if available, this event will likely sell out)

Remember that split second when you realized you were in the wrong business, with the wrong lover, or on the wrong train? Hit by a bolt of lightning and decide to marry your junior high sweetheart? Fall out of bed and begin creating orgasmic macaroni art? Buy a rotten head of lettuce and instantly commit to opening a Health Food store?

Bay Area storytelling favorites narrating tales of once-in-a-lifetime epiphanies:  

Ava Roy (Director of WE Theater - interactive large-scale Shakepeare Productions)
Joe Loya (Author, Screenwriter, former inmate)
Gina Gold (Gina Gold show)
Susan McNeece (Co-Producer, Fireside StorytellingSF)
Wesley ‘Scoop’ Nisker (Author, Commentator, Buddhist, SF Legend)
Jeff Greenwald (Author, Travel Writer) - emcee & host
Kay DeMartini (Producer, Real Stories Bay Area) - host

We’ll also include a 3-minute story from the audience. No notes & not memorized.

Oakland-based Jeff Greenwald is the author of six popular travel books, including Shopping for Buddhas, The Size of the World (for which he created the first international blog), and most recently Snake Lake, set in Nepal during the 1990 democracy revolution. His stories and essays have appeared in many print and online publications—including Smithsonian, The New York Times Magazine, Wired, National Geographic Adventure and Salon. Jeff also serves as Executive Director of Ethical Traveler, a global alliance of travelers dedicated to human rights and environmental protection ( His critically acclaimed one-man show, “Strange Travel Suggestions,” premiered in San Francisco in 2003.

Kay DeMartini is the creator and producer of ‘Real Stories Bay Area’, a monthly storytelling event which began in Walnut Creek above a downtown bar and is now into it’s third year. As a comic, improvisor and performer, Kay gravitated toward the energy of true personal narratives. RSBA has grown and expanded to larger venues and sell-out crowds. Storytellers have ranged from Peter Finch of KGO radio to waitresses from the original bar location. She is a former feature writer for Soul Magazine of San Jose, and speaks to corporations about the power, craft, and delivery of storytelling.


08.12.12 - Cafe Closing Early at 5 pm for Private Event


08.10.12 - The KALW Hear Here Story Slamwich - Free - Doors at 6:30pm

Friday, August 10
Doors 6:30 pm

What happens when you combine local public radio, a story slam, and a grilled cheese cookoff? A recipe for a good time! KALW 91.7FM is bringing you a live menu of food-themed tales from professional storytellers and local residents. It’s part of KALW’s new community storytelling project, Hear Here: A Pop-Up Radio Project. Be sure to stay for the evening’s three acts:

APPETIZER: Professional storyteller and radio producer hamming it up on stage
MAIN COURSE: Grilled cheese cookoff, judged by select audience members
DESSERT: A multi-course story slam: food memories, disasters, insights, & more. Performers include author and New America Media editor Andrew Lam, and more! 

To get your story into the lineup, email by Friday, August 3rd with your food story (7 minutes or less). It’s a slam, so we’ll be picking the best of the best to perform on stage!


08.09.12 - Trivia Night Thursday with The Smokin' J's & Tacos by Bueno Eats - Free - 7pm

Thursday, August 9th
7:00 pm

The downtown Oakland Trivia Night with a twist:  live music interludes and interactive questions by The Smokin’ J’s, delicious tacos by Bueno Eats, and terrible prizes.  Compete in teams of fives through four rounds of questions for a bucket of beer!  Hosted by Awaken Cafe’s Oliver Greenlaw.